This month at the Ladies Do-It-Herself class at Home Depot, three of the Adirondack chairs which we built were raffled off.  Guess what?!  I won!

Here is a picture of my Adirondack Chair!  I did not purchase the teal seat cushion which is pictured, but I was allowed to select a pillow to go with the chair.  Later I found a nice seat cushion for the chair at another store.  Unfortunately, with the high humidity and all the rain we have been receiving, I have not had a chance to stain and treat the chair.  For now it resides in my garage.  I want to ensure that this chair lasts!



Cook out season is here!  In the south, pickles are a MUST HAVE at a cook out.  I love pickles!  This summer I am attempting to make my own.  (How hard could it be right?!)  I researched some recipes online and found this super easy recipe from The Brothers Green on YouTube.  (P.S. They are one of my favorite shows to watch on The Official Hungry Channel.  They now have their own YouTube channel called Brothers Green Eats, be sure to check them out!)

Below is the YouTube video and recipe.

Sweet & Spicy Refrigerator Dill Pickles


  • 3-4 Cucumbers
  • 1/2 Cup Dill
  • 3-5 Garlic Cloves
  • 1-2 Jalapenos
  • 1 Quart Mason Jar
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Salt
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 Cup Vinegar


  1. Clean and cut cucumbers length wise in to quaters.  (This is hot dog length to make spears, for all those that get length and width confused.  Yes, I admit, I am one of them!)
  2. Pack quarter cucumber spears into the 1 quarter Mason Jar.
  3. Smash garlic cloves and remove garlic peel.  Pack garlic cloves into Mason Jar with cucumbers.
  4. Dice jalapenos and add them to the Mason Jar.  You can have the option to add the seeds and white membrane to Mason jar. (Note: I added 1 whole jalapeno with all parts.  The pickles turned out quite spicy.)
  5. Rough chop the dill and smash the dill on top of all the ingredients in the Mason Jar.
  6. To make pickling brine, add 1 cup of vinegar, 1 cup of water, salt and sugar to a pot on medium high heat.  (I used 1 to 1 ratio of salt to sugar.)
  7. Bring to a boil.
  8. Once ingredients are combined in the brine, pour in mason jar over all ingredients.
  9. Cap and place the pickles in the refrigerator for a few hours to marinate.


Hello Ladies!  The third Thursday of the month has almost arrived, which means another Do-It-Herself Class at The Home Depot.  This coming Thursday, June 20, 2013  The Home Depot will be hosting a Ladies Do-It-Herself Class on How to Build an Adirondack Chair.

Want a sneak peak?  Here is the YouTube video of how to complete the project on your own.  (But hands on is more fun!  Ana White definitely makes this job appear easier than it truly is.  No offense, Ana.)


The class will be held at all Home Depots on Thursday, June 20, 2013.  If interested in attending, stop by your nearest Home Depot and inquire.  Some Home Depot stores request that you RSVP so that they can plan snacks and seating accordingly.

The Rivergate Home Depot (Charlotte, NC) will be serving heavy hors d’oeuvres from City Tavern, assembling and decorating 4 Adirondack chairs which will be raffled off at the end of the night.  AND!  If you bring a friend, you will receive an extra raffle ticket to double your chances for winning.  An Adirondack chair will look lovely on my small front porch.  Wish me luck!

Pictures to come!  Again, I will scan in the Home Depot Do-It-Herself booklet again for those of you that are unable to attend, but like the instructions.

It was a busy week!  With warmer weather and bathing suit season here, I am returning to my healthier lifestyle, not that it should have left to begin with.  This means setting boundaries of work and personal life, healthier meals, running and more yoga.  I have joined the YMCA hosted “Couch to 5K” to aid in getting my running stride back.  I am registered to do the Electric Run in July, here in Charlotte, NC.  I also am doing two HOT yoga classes a week.  It felt great to return to my yoga practice this week.

Homemade pretzels are not on “the healthier eating habits” list, but I have been craving them.  I did well this week, therefore I justified making this recipe.  One cheat treat, a week.  (I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it.)  Move over Betty Crocker because I’m in the kitchen now!


Homemade Pretzels

Makes 20


  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • gourmet sea salt


  1. Dissolve yeast in 1 1/3 cups of warm water.
  2. Add sugar and flour and mix until you have a smooth and elastic dough.  If you have difficulties combining all the flour once the dough ball begins to form add a little extra water to the mix, but no more than 1/3 of a cup extra.
  3. Cover with plastic and let it rise in a warm location for 45 minutes.
    (Note: If you are like me and tend to keep a cooler home, if it is warm outside place your covered dough on the patio table or in the garage.)
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add baking soda, and stir until the soda is dissolved.  And Preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Cut the dough into 20 pieces and roll each piece into a long sausage.  Twist the two ends around each other three times, put ends together and thread through the loop which was created when the 2 ends were twisted.  It will form a tight pretzel looking shape.  Try different rolling/twisting techniques.
  6. Place each pretzel in the boiling water baking soda mixture and let them cook for 10 seconds on each side.  Take them out and place them on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
  7. Sprinkle with salt.
  8. Bake at 475 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 to 10 minutes or until dark golden.
  9. Cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy with spicy or sweet mustard, melted cheese or cinnamon and sugar.  Get creative with toppings!

Good Evening!  I know, I know … I am slacking!  But working over 40 hours a week, maintaining a home (which I will report, being a homeowner is nice, but a lot of work), taking care of 2 mini wiener dogs, spending time with family and friends, all while attempting to live life to its fullest has had me away from my computer.  BUT!  Tonight that changes, with my trusty smarty pants dog by my side, my laptop in bed with me and my creative brain ready to share.  Ready … set …

lola_and_i_bloggingFor those of you that have been patiently awaiting for me to share The Home Depot Do-It-Herself Booklet for May, Inspired by Pinterest: Succulent Gardens, here it is!

I’m sorry it took so long!  I decided to climb through the mess of my office tonight to reach my scanner and scan the 7 page booklet.

I admit!  I was sad that the succulent plant I assembled at the Home Depot Do-It-Herself class was not raffled off.  BUT!  I was inspired to create my own!  Here it is!

my_succulent_plantAmazingly, the weekend after I attended the Do-It-Herself Class, I found tons of succulent plants at the plant shed at the NC Farmer’s Market.

The succulent I purchased was about $4.  It is a fairly decent size and definitely a lot more bang of my buck.  I priced this same succulent at Walmart.  Walmart had their succulent plants priced between $5 and $10.  The plants were not as healthy and large as the ones I found at the farmer’s market.

I purchased the large glass container from Hobby Lobby for $8, plus I had a 40% coupon, which reduced it to approximately $5.  I also purchased 2 containers of uncolored sand at Hobby Lobby, approximately cost $2.50 each.  The rocks and soil, I purchased from Walmart, which ranged to a total of $6.

You do not have to purchase rocks and sand for this project.  I added the rocks and sand to make it more decorative.  You can use any sort of container for succulent plants.  The booklet, which I provided, has plenty of container suggestions.

Total project cost: approximately $20

If you create a succulent garden, please share pictures of your garden.  I look forward to seeing your creative ideas!

For LIVE up-to-date inspirations, please feel free to follow my instgram!  (@thatgirl_leah)

People often ask me what I make with the items from my farmers market haul.  With summer almost here, this is a great refreshing salad to make for a cook out.  My Grandma and Step-dad found this recipe in the Charlotte Observer years ago.  I loved it so much, that I made a copy for myself. Good thing I made a copy because no one can find the original!

Being that I only cook for 1 (just me), I cut this recipe in half by using 1 bunch of asparagus and 1 can of artichoke hearts.  I made the dressing as outlined in the recipe.  I then used more or less of the dressing to my taste buds liking.  The asparagus was purchased at the NC Farmers Market and given to me by my fellow foodie friend, Joanna.  (She is the sweetest for buying it for me!)  I purchased the thyme on my first spring farmers market haul.  The thyme has matured over the past month and is plentiful for using to cook.


Artichoke and Asparagus Salad

(From the Associated Press. found in the Charlotte Observer)


  • 2 bunches asparagus, bottoms trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Set a large bowl of ice water next to the stove.
  2. Place the asparagus in the boiling water and blanch until bright green and just tender, about 4 minutes.  Transfer the asparagus to the ice water to cool and stop the cooking.  Drain well.
  3. Whisk the mustard, salt, pepper, lemon juice, vinegar, lemon zest, thyme and oil together in a large bowl.  Gently toss the drained asparagus spears and the artichoke hearts in the dressing.  Serve sprinkled with the feta cheese.

Yield: 8 servings.

Nutrition Facts: Per serving: 159 calories; 68g carbohydrate; 7g protein; 14g fat (31% of calories from fat, 6g saturated); 108mg cholesterol; 3g fiber; 96mg sodium.